We at Sitejabber recognize that none of the supplements listed below have been recommended or authorized by the FDA to treat COVID-19. We put together this list of supplements, along with the literature from clinical studies and research, showing potential benefits for taking it. We also include warnings for the various supplements that can lead to toxic side effects. The supplement industry is not regulated like the pharmaceutical industry, and there is a concern with obtaining quality ingredients. Some of these supplements can have adverse effects on medications you may already take. If you do decide to take any supplement, we recommend researching the companies selling them and always consult with your physician.
Immunity and wellness are on everyone’s mind due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The following vitamins and supplements show promising results in either the treatment or prevention of COVID-19 in clinical trials, but check with your doctor before starting anything new.* Read through our list of trustworthy retailers offering these products, as well as information on false widespread claims businesses are using to target consumers.
Being in good general health can indeed help lessen the impacts of COVID-19 and aid in recovery. The following vitamins and supplements have been researched by medical professionals to have benefits in relation to the virus. If you’re looking to take vitamins for peace of mind or to help your immune system, take a look at the following options. As always, consult your physician before taking any new vitamins or supplements.*
Glutathione is an antioxidant found in plants, animals, fungi, and some bacteria that prevents cell damage caused by free radicals, peroxides, heavy metals, and more. It can have many health benefits, including reducing oxidative stress.
A recent article in the ACS Infectious Diseases journal features a hypothesis that a glutathione deficiency is most likely the cause of serious illness or death in COVID-19 patients. According to the study, a glutathione deficiency appeared to be a crucial factor in enhancing oxidative damage of the lung in COVID-19 patients, which lead to further complications such as acute respiratory distress syndrome, multiorgan failure, and death. This isn’t the only instance of glutathione being studied with COVID-19. Some physicians have given IV and oral forms of the substance to patients with the virus and have seen favorable results. However, further trials are recommended.
The most common forms of glutathione are liquid and capsule products. Consult with your doctor to see which supplement could be right for you.*
Some US hospitals are treating COVID-19 patients with vitamin C via IV and are seeing promising results, giving rise to clinical trials for this treatment. New studies have looked further into vitamin C, showing evidence that liposomal vitamin C (which can be purchased at pharmacies) decreases oxidative stress – a phenomenon caused by the virus – better than other forms of vitamin C. Liposomal vitamin C comes in various forms and doses, check with your doctor to see which is best for you.*
Clinical trials are underway involving melatonin usage for COVID-19 patients. According to the current research, people with higher melatonin levels (younger patients and women) are less affected by the virus, therefore suggesting that the hormone plays a role in fighting coronavirus. Researchers are investigating administering 2mg of melatonin daily in hopes of preventing COVID-19 infection in exposed healthcare workers. Melatonin also may reduce cortisol (stress hormone), which aids your immune system. Note that some researchers believe taking melatonin supplements too often can inhibit your body from producing it on its own. Melatonin comes in a variety of forms and doses, check with your doctor to see which is best for you.*
NAC (N-Acetylcysteine) is a precursor to glutathione, a powerful antioxidant. Clinical studies with NAC have been done on everything from the common cold to COPD and Parkinson's disease. Now, COVID-19 patients are involved in a trial with nebulized NAC (inhaling it) to check for lung improvements because the substance acts as a mucolytic (breaks up mucus in the lungs). Based on its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, more research is also being done on the use of NAC as both a prevention and treatment for COVID-19. As of August 2020, Memorial Sloan-Kettering was recruiting participants for the new study. NAC comes in a variety of forms and doses, check with your doctor to see which is best for you.*
Other promising trials involving NAC include Stanford's research on the substance's ability to prevent cardiovascular disease and evidence that it can help reduce the incidence of clinically apparent viral influenza.
NAD+ (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide) is vital to cell function and resilience but is depleted by viruses (like COVID-19). NAD+ levels also decline naturally with age, so supplements have been around for a while to help boost these levels. Scientists at the Biogerontology Research Foundation in the UK are conducting age-based studies for COVID-19. Because older people are hit harder by the virus, they are testing different supplements on this age group, including NAD+. Due to these promising results, the stock of NAD+ companies has gone up, and other major researchers are following suit with trials. Elysium Health has begun clinical trials to show how NAD+ can help with aging in general. NAD+ products can be sold as direct supplements or a booster, consult your doctor to see which is best for you.*
According to some scientists who are wary about the supplement, be aware that there could be a cancer risk related to NAD+.
Nitric oxide helps endothelial cells (found in blood vessels) function, but these levels decline with age. Studies have shown that oral nitric oxide supplements help support healthy blood pressure in adults. There is also a clinical trial involving the use of nitric oxide gas to treat COVID-19. Nitric oxide comes in a variety of forms and doses, check with your doctor to see which is best for you.*
Clinical trials are underway with vitamin D3 to determine if higher levels can prevent infection or lessen the symptoms of COVID-19. Based on a research article from the US National Library of Medicine, “to reduce the risk of infection, it is recommended that people at risk of influenza and/or COVID-19 consider taking 10,000 IU/d of vitamin D3 for a few weeks” and then cut the amount in half after that.
Too much vitamin D can also be toxic. Ask your physician about adding extra vitamin D to your daily regimen.*
Zinc is a staple in the vitamins and supplements industry. It helps treat colds, but did you know that many colds are caused by a type of coronavirus (not necessarily COVID-19)? A review of data by Cochrane showed that “zinc administered within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms reduces the duration of common cold symptoms.” This might be why zinc lozenges are currently sold out, but does zinc actually help with COVID-19? According to recent studies, zinc has been shown to prevent viral coronavirus replication in cell cultures. However, there is a difference between zinc being effective in the laboratory cells versus humans. Nevertheless, there are now clinical trials using zinc with patients who were exposed to COVID-19.
Please note that high doses of zinc taken over a long period of time can have toxic side effects.*
While the FDA has warned cannabis companies against making false claims that CBD is effective against the virus, some universities are conducting research that indicates otherwise. These new studies are suggesting that cannabis extracts could make people more resistant to the virus. Keep your eye out for more research to come and consult your doctor before introducing any new supplements into your diet.*
If you and your doctor think that one of the above vitamins or supplements could be a good fit for you, your next step is to look for reputable retailers to buy them from. The following companies are some of the most popular and highly rated retailers in the industry. We’ve also included a link to their Sitejabber reviews so you can see what fellow consumers have to say about their brand and products.
Vitamins are flying off the shelves, but there is no evidence to back up supposed health benefits for many products. Be wary of supplements and products that are overtly making claims that they can cure, treat, or prevent COVID-19. Right now, there is no pill on the market curing or preventing COVID-19, and any company that claims this is lying. The FDA has written letters to companies in various industries, informing them not to make such claims. The FDA has also started cracking down on COVID-19 claims being made by cannabis companies who have claimed that it treats or prevents the virus.
For more information on fraudulent companies, the FDA has put together a watch list for consumers to protect themselves against scams across all industries.
When purchasing any vitamins or supplements for you or your family to take, only use trustworthy retailers. Money scams or fake products are unfortunately common right now, and even worse, there is the risk of ingesting dangerous ingredients from unknown suppliers. We hope that with this guide, and our other consumer resources at Sitejabber, you can purchase vitamins and supplements safely and with confidence. Remember to consult your physician before introducing anything new to your vitamin regimen.*
Have more questions? Reach out to others on our COVID-19 community Facebook group.